President of Doctors Without Borders to speak at URI Providence, April 23 Program rescheduled from November

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KINGSTON, R.I. – April 10, 2013 – Unni Karunakara, international president of Doctors Without Borders, will present a lecture at the University of Rhode Island about how his organization addresses the gap in access to health care that affects people in low- and middle-income countries around the world.

The lecture, entitled “Access to Health Care: A Humanitarian Perspective,” will take place on April 23 at 7 p.m. in Paff Auditorium at the URI Feinstein Providence campus. It was originally scheduled as part of the URI Honors Colloquium last fall. It is free and open to the public.

Karunakara received a medical degree from Kasturba Medical College in India and degrees in public health from Yale and Johns Hopkins universities. He first worked with Doctors Without Borders in 1995, setting up a tuberculosis control program in Ethiopia, and later he became medical coordinator for the group’s activities in Azerbaijan. He held similar posts in Brazil and The Congo, and in 2007 he was part of the medical emergency response team treating victims of a cyclone in Bangladesh. Since 2008, he has also served as deputy director of health for the Millennium Villages Project at the Earth Institute at Columbia University.

“With close to two decades of experience with Doctors Without Borders, Dr. Karanukara worked around the globe addressing health crises as varied as sleeping sickness, tuberculosis and the multitude of other illnesses associated with inequity,” said Shahla Yekta, URI nursing instructor and one of the organizers of the lecture. “The Nobel Peace Prize winning organization that started over 40 years ago by a small group of French doctors to address health issues during humanitarian crisis has now grown internationally to a worldwide movement of 23 associations working in more than 60 countries.”

The lecture will be streamed live at For additional information about the event and the URI Honors Colloquium, contact Deborah Gardiner at or 401-874-2303.